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By Chris Cooke | Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2022
Internet services company Cloudflare has urged the European Commission to ensure that its counterfeit and piracy watchlist focuses on websites that directly violate intellectual property laws, rather than the legitimate companies accused by the copyright owners for not doing enough to fight online piracy. You know, like Cloudflare.
The Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List is essentially the European version of the Notorious Markets List that the US government produces every year, which tracks all the websites that currently annoy copyright owners – either because it these are overt hacking operations, or because they facilitate hacking in some cases. way.
With both lists, copyright holders can make submissions suggesting which websites and platforms should be featured. As the EC works on its next list, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry made such a submission earlier this year.
After talking about a pile of file-sharing, stream-mining, and cyber-locker operations that make it easy to hack – and complaining about various social media-type platforms that don’t do enough to license music and/or help copyright holders remove infringing content – the IFPI submission then turned to internet companies that provide services to some of the piracy sites mentioned elsewhere in its document.
He wrote: “Several intermediaries have been named by IFPI in past submissions and we continue to have concerns about the services specifically mentioned. The focus of this year’s submission is Cloudflare given its involvement with a large number of priority music industry sites.”
While the services provided by Cloudflare are entirely legitimate, the IFPI noted that some of these services may “provide anonymity to the owners and/or operators of websites that use its services.” This feature is especially desirable for operators of pirate websites and others engaged in illegal activities.”
The IFPI – and other rights holder groups – would like Cloudflare to be much more proactive in dealing with hacking operations that use its services. This would include making it easier to identify the people behind these transactions and putting in place a better “know your customer” system, verifying the identity of new customers and the nature of their transactions before provide services.
“Cloudflare should refuse to provide services to customers who do not provide accurate contact information,” IFPI wrote in its submission. “Cloudflare should also obtain details of the activities customers plan to undertake. It must not provide services to customers who engage in illegal activities or violate Cloudflare policies, and it must perform additional checks on activities that fall into particularly risky categories.”
However, in its submission, published by Torrentfreak, Cloudflare argues that these demands go far beyond its legal responsibilities and that the counterfeiting and piracy watchlist should focus on companies and websites that violate the law. law, rather than on companies that do not voluntarily agree to comply with the requirements of copyright owners.
He writes: “The creation of a watchlist suggests that the European Commission assesses whether entities have breached their legal obligations and identified entities that are truly bad actors. Faced with this reality, [the EC] must apply principled and fair legal standards in determining which entities to include on the watch list.”
“The Commission should not,” she adds, “issue a report – even informal – that is simply a mechanism for particular stakeholders to air their grievances that entities are not taking particular voluntary action. to address their concerns or to advocate for new policies”.
“The Commission’s inclusion of such allegations on its watchlist may inappropriately suggest that the Commission endorses such actions, a view that could influence ongoing legal discussions and policy debates,” continues -he. “Our view is that the Commission staff document and watchlist should be limited to allegations of unlawful behavior verified by the Commission, based on principled and fair legal standards.”
So this is it. It remains to be seen what stance the EC will take regarding Cloudflare’s inclusion in its upcoming counterfeiting and piracy watchlist.